The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman

(Excerpts from the poem read by Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., January 20, 2021)

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation

rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy

And this effort very nearly succeeded

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth

in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future

history has its eyes on us

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So while once we asked,

how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert:

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was

but move to what shall be.

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free.

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens/

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and changes our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left

With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

I will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one!

Amanda Gorman, age 22, is the  country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate.   Her first two books come out in September — the picture story “Change Things” and a bound edition of her inaugural poem, along with other works.  To watch and read  Gorman’s  entire Inauguration Day poem, visit

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